How to Remove Paint From a Wood Dresser

Written by jessica jewell
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How to Remove Paint From a Wood Dresser
To remove paint from a wood dresser, you will need a large paintbrush and a putty knife. (paint image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

To remove paint from a wood dresser, you need to use a chemical stripper, which will remove paint while preserving the quality of the wood. You can find chemical strippers in various forms (pastes and liquids) at most hardware stores. In order to successfully and safely chemically strip a wood dresser, work in a well-ventilated room. If you adhere to the stripping procedures, which include the application of the chemicals and removing the paint with a putty knife, you will be able to successfully remove paint from your wood dresser.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tarp
  • Gloves
  • Eye wear
  • Chemical stripper
  • Paintbrush
  • Putty knife
  • Rag

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  1. 1

    Take your wood dresser outdoors, if possible, so you can work with fresh air. If you cannot take the dresser outdoors, make sure you open as many windows as you can to get good air circulation in your workspace. Put a tarp or large plastic bag under the dresser so you don't damage other furnishings or flooring while applying the chemical stripper.

  2. 2

    Put on work gloves or cleaning gloves that are strong and chemical-resistant. You may also want to wear protective goggles or eye wear to protect your eyes in the event that the chemicals splash while you are working.

  3. 3

    Remove any handles, knobs, mirrors or other hardware from the dresser. Remove the drawers and set them aside. You will work with just one surface at a time.

  4. 4

    Dip your paintbrush into the chemical stripper and brush the stripper over one surface of the dresser. You should just do one section of the dresser at a time, rather than trying to strip the entire dresser with one application. Brush on a thick layer of the stripper, as if icing a cake.

  5. 5

    Wait 10 to 20 minutes for the stripper to begin to work on the paint. The instruction label for the particular brand of chemical stripper you chose will say how long the stripper should take to work. After about 20 minutes, you should be able to start scraping the paint away with the putty knife.

  6. 6

    Gently scrape the paint sludge off the surface of the dresser with a putty knife. Avoid digging too deeply into the wood or scratching the wood with the knife. If there are several coats of paint on the dresser, you may have to repeat the process on the same surface again to remove additional layers of paint.

  7. 7

    Wipe away any remaining sludge with a cloth.

  8. 8

    Repeat the stripping process on each surface of the dresser until you have removed all of the paint. When you are finished, leave the dresser disassembled to dry overnight and discard any paint sludge into a covered, outdoor dustbin.

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